Much has been made of Saskatchewan’s population hitting a record high. However, it’s important to recognize that unlike growth in decades past, which was distributed relatively evenly throughout the province, this new growth is concentrated much more heavily in our major urban areas. In particular, Regina and Saskatoon have experienced a significant amount of growth which brings with it a unique set of challenges.
On the infrastructure side, more people mean more roads and services that need to be built and maintained. As well, Saskatoon and Regina are hubs for the surrounding communities which places additional requirements on their infrastructure. Because cities have limited taxation powers they are often forced to make short and long term spending and prioritization decisions based on fluctuations in the federal and provincial budgets. Cities need a long term funding agreement with the province for both capital and operating expenses in order to plan properly for future growth and development. As well, the province needs to be an active partner in lobbying the federal government to offer a similar agreement.
On the people side, many immigrants coming to Saskatchewan have chosen to make Saskatoon and Regina home. This influx of new Canadians creates a unique challenge for the education system in these major centres. The ministry of education needs to support students and their families with language training and additional support so they can reach their full potential in our society.
As well, the demand for rental units prices are at an all time high in these cities. Rather than mandating rent controls, the province should offer tax incentives for those who build and offer safe, affordable and good quality rental units.
These are just some of the ways a Liberal government could support our province’s growing communities as they strive to maintain a high quality of life for all residents.
P.S. We are asking Saskatchewan Liberal Party members to share their views as we shape our party’s platform for the next election. We welcome your comments on our Facebook page, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org